These days have been so demanding I sometimes wonder where I am. There is not a second to afford myself the luxury of climbing on my ancient Soapbox and speaking to my friends.
Even now, my eyes are starting to close … it’s the witching hour … when most of Britain is asleep, but I sit at the computer, trying to figure out where the next blast in this war is going to come from. Which war? The war David Cameron and the NFU have declared on the countryside and thousands of innocent creatures – what is left of Britain’s precious wildlife.
Things have changed a lot in the past year. All those people who were calling my views ‘rubbish’ are now faced with a united front of ALL the great animal campaigns in this country, plus most of the top scientific experts on bovine TB. It must be getting pretty hard for them to rubbish me now; but in any case, I have grown accustomed to it.
I’d just like to say a couple of things from my position on the Soapbox, addressed to various people who may get to read this, one way or another.
Firstly … to the good people of the Isle of Wight – who made me so welcome this weekend. You live in a beautiful place, but in the shadow of an awful conspiracy to abuse the animals you treasure in your lovely island. You get so little support from outside, yet you continue to fight for what is right. You sit powerless while fox hunters continue to break the law, persecuting foxes, unchecked, and while officials turn a blind eye to badger setts being destroyed; and there is nobody to appeal to who is not bound up in the same unholy alliance, bent on keeping things the same … with the many being ridden over, rough-shod, by the few. I hope we will be able to help you break the stranglehold of darkness, and enable you to change the balance of power soon, and root out the evil undergrowth which at present sullies your land. What is happening in the IOW is a microcosm of what is actually happening all over Britain. For Law and Order has broken down in the countryside, and our government, supposedly the guardian of decency, is doing nothing about it. It’s a disgraceful situation.
Secondly … to the good people who have been not just signing our petition to save the badgers from slaughter, but have been working hard making their friends aware, spreading the word, so that our numbers keep growing … amazingly fast. THANK YOU so much, from the bottom of my heart. I think we all feel powerless at the moment. We wonder why, in a democracy, we seem to have no say, no voice. There are not many times when any of us can make a difference. Well, everyone who has given their support by signing this petition will be able to say one day, “I helped to stop the cruelty”. We will not stop at 100,000 signatures. We will not rest while this hideous cull is still on the cards.
Thirdly … to the good farmers, who began in ones and twos, but are now a steady flow … who have seen through the propaganda, and realise that a cull will not help their cause one bit. Many of you tell us you value your wild animals, and have ruled out killing badgers, or any other wild creature, as a way of solving problems. Many of you want to remain anonymous, for fear that you will be penalised for going against the NFU, and we will always respect that. But I ask you, if you hear this, to have courage, and stand up and speak. I have been frequently accused of being anti-farmer; this has never been the case. I remain committed to helping farmers beat bovine TB, but only in humane ways.
Fourthly … to our people – the ones who are dedicated, as I am, to saving animals from the murderous cull. We need to oppose this cruel and unjust plan, hatched by the Government in collusion with the NFU, with not a single person speaking on behalf of the badgers. We need to oppose it by every legal and decent means at our disposal. But we are fighting for decency itself – for compassion and respect and consideration for the feelings of the other beings around us. We cannot do this using methods which themselves are not decent. We are NOT in the business of intimidation or harassment. We do not try to undermine the private lives of farmers or their families. We do not behave in a threatening manner, or we destroy the very principles we stand for. It is hard. It has always been hard. We face an enemy which by its very nature is violent. It is terrible to contemplate human beings causing unnecessary suffering to the fellow creatures we treat with love and respect. But we have to fight violence with reason and resolve, knowing that we have one weapon which in the end must always guarantee that we win. We know, like Wilberforce fighting the violence of slavery, like Nelson Mandela fighting the violence of Apartheid, that we are, without a shred of doubt, IN THE RIGHT.
We have over 90 thousand people, and ever-growing, behind us, on our side. We have science on our side. We have morality on our side.
We will win this war. But not by becoming violent ourselves. That would be a tragedy too. We will win it by sticking to what we know is right.
And never again will a Government like this try to get away with unjustifiable slaughter like this.
Be strong. Be just. And let decency prevail.